Living with a Threenager


Y’all…..everyone talks about the terrible twos, but I’m here to tell you that three is worse.

I feel like the two’s were a breeze: minimal meltdowns, communication got better, and all items on the dinner plate were eaten.

Three’s though? Three’s are a different story.

About two to three months after my daughter turned three, I realized that this was going to be the hardest year yet. I realized I was living with a “threenager.”

What’s a threenager you ask? Well, it’s a teenager mindset wrapped in a three-year-old’s body. It’s crying over little things, refusing to follow instructions, and apparently being able to do all things by themselves. It’s your three-year-old being very specific with what they want to wear without taking into account the weather or location in which you are going.

A threenager is that three-year-old child who runs in the street the second you get out the door faster than you can grab their hand because they have no regard for safety. It’s them crying while rolling across the living room floor because you couldn’t find the right version of “Going on a Bear Hunt” despite clicking through seven tracks already.

You get my drift.

I once watched a three-year-old put her hands on her mom’s shoulders and say, out of nowhere, “I do what I want!” and then walk off with some hip-shaking and lots of sass.  Myself and a few other mothers laughed out loud and quickly assured this mom that we laughed because we’d been there ourselves!

Don’t let that smile fool you.

I’m working on positive ways to get both of us to cope with the meltdowns and drama.  Sometimes, I just say yes and let her do her thing. Sometimes kids need a win and it probably doesn’t matter what they do in that moment. I’m talking easy stuff, like picking out crazy clothes or wanting to take all of the plastic cups and plates out of the cabinet and play with them.

When it comes to things that are dangerous, I try to get on her level and calmly explain why she can’t do it. I did this about five times with crossing the street and she FINALLY gets it and stops to look both ways on her own (still holding my hand, just in case).

I’m hoping we survive this threenager phase. I hope the age of four will lead to better handling of emotions and less opinions on things that don’t matter. However, I recently heard a mom call her four-year-old a “Four-nado,” so I guess I better get to the basement and find some shelter.

Someone tell my husband to call me when she’s five!

Is your child a threenager? Share those funny threenager stories with us so we can all laugh together in solidarity.

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Lisa Freeburg
Lisa is a transplant from the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas (yes, she has seen a tornado) and spent a few years in Ohio before moving to South Carolina in 2014. She holds a degree in Biology and works as a research assistant at the USC School of Medicine. Her career in science spans 11 years and she can't imagine a job anywhere else. She has also been married to her college sweetheart for 11 years. He is a professor at USC, so they are Gamecock fans by default. They are proud parents to a spunky 2.5 year old girl who keeps them on their toes. As a family, they enjoy being outside in the wonderful southern sun, gardening, playing tennis, and going to the beach. They also are parents to 2 fur babies who still aren't sure about their little sister.


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